A Tailored Support System for People With Disabilities And/or Low Incomes
Placing people in a job is not enough. If a person is surrounded by instability in their personal life, finances, or housing conditions, they’ll struggle to even make it to work, let alone perform well. To maintain employment, employees in poverty need access to resources and community that can meet their material and emotional needs. Yet this doesn’t exist for individuals living with disabilities and/or low incomes in King County, Washington, where a household of four with an income of $72,000 a year is considered “low income.” A sudden catastrophic event could be the difference between a stable, housed, and working individual, and a bankrupt, homeless, and unemployed one.
Cares of Washington is a nonprofit that finds individualized paths for people with disabilities and/or low incomes to achieve economic self-sufficiency. The organization’s approach is more than just employment services, offering participants long-term coaching, financial skills education, vocational and educational training, support services, and job placement. Long term employment is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Cares of Washington coaches help each person overcome their barriers by providing access to resources including mental health care, childcare, transportation, financial advice, and general coaching—anything the client needs to succeed. Once participants go through the program, Cares of Washington leverages its employment partnership network to place candidates in a meaningful, well compensated job, and provide them with long term coaching if needed.
Since its founding in 2003, Cares of Washington has impacted more than 5,000 individuals, resulting in over 3,000 new jobs across King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties. Annually, Cares supports over 600 individuals to prepare for and land jobs, of which 72% are successfully employed after working with Cares. The organization runs efficiently, with 92% of revenue going directly to participant services. In addition, their Connect for Success corporate benefit services support another 2,500 employees in King County, with one coach supporting up to 237 people throughout the year. Over the last 15 years, 75% of graduates have successfully retained their jobs thanks to the support system provided by Cares of Washington.